And far away, across the fields
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spell – Pink Floyd
This has been a year heavy with loss – my father died in June, I lost my beloved cat of 15 years in August, and just two weeks ago we lost an old and dear friend to cancer. Each of these deaths tolls in my heart like a great bell at the approach of Samhain, as we prepare to mark a single moment in the ceaseless turning of the Wheel, and to formally enshrine these with the rest of our beloved dead.
I have nothing else to say tonight; tomorrow is the festival day of Halloween, the final revel before the gates close upon the Kore for a season as she takes up her mantle as Persephone, Queen of the Dead*. I pray that she will look upon these named here, and all within her charge, with gracious compassion.
* The identification of Samhain with the descent into Hades, and of Imbolc with her return, is based purely on my own interpretation of the wheel of the year as I experience it in North Carolina, and upon a blatant syncretism of Hellenic and Druidic elements in my personal practice. YMWACV. It is also worth noting that I believe this is largely symbolic, as I hold that she is always both Kore and Persephone, both Maiden and Queen – but being symbolic doesn’t make it any less real. This is a commemoration, not a re-enactment.